Patterico's Pontifications


Enjoy My Latest Column Bashing the [Insert Pejorative Group Name Here]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

It’s Mad Libs Enraged Libs! Or: how to write that column when the deadline is in five minutes and you can’t think of anything new to say:

But what gets me is how these ____________(pejorative group name) are always trying to act like they’re better than us _______________(positive group name), the way they constantly _____________(disfavored activity). You know who I mean: people like ____________(disfavored person) and ______________(disfavored person). But in the end, all they are is _____________(pejorative group name) who do nothing but sit around and ____________(disfavored activity) and wouldn’t know how to ___________(favored activity) if _________________(favored person) took them by the hand and showed them. And no matter how much these ______________(pejorative group name) go to their cocktail parties in the Hamptons and ________________(disfavored activity), these ______________(pejorative group name) will never be as good as us __________(positve group name). The truth is that these ____________(pejorative group name) are jealous of ______________(favored person) because he is one of the ______________(positive group name) who really know how to _____________(favored activity). So buy my book and totally own these _______________(pejorative group name), make ____________(disfavored person) cry, and show all those ___________(pejorative group name) how we _____________(positive group name) act.

Select from the following:

Pejorative group names: pussies, twits, weenies, NeverTrumpers, dorks, Fredocons, sissies, weasels, posers, scolds
Positive group names: real conservatives, Normals, real men, good Republicans, unruly ruffians
Disfavored activities: sip Zima, sell cruise cabins, trash Donald Trump, lecture about morals
Favored activities: bang hot porn stars, fight dirty, destroy the left, own the libs and the pinkos
Disfavored persons: Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker
Favored persons: Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


New York Times Publishes Story Imagining Assassination Of Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As we watch the flamethrowers of blame being lobbed from both sides of the aisle about whose incendiary rhetoric led to the ongoing bomb scares this week, and hear the rank hypocrisy coming from the Democrats and their leaders, I wanted to bring to your attention the immense double standard of our media. Quelle surprise, I know.

Several days ago, the New York Times asked 5 writers to submit stories that imagined what Trump’s next chapter might be:

Our focus here at the Book Review is on books and stories, but also on how the books being written and read reflect the world outside of books. And one of the biggest stories out there, of course, is the Mueller investigation and the relationship between Trump and Putin. It’s hard not to speculate about what might happen next. To that end, we thought: Who better than some of today’s most talented spy and crime novelists — Joseph Finder, Laura Lippman, Jason Matthews, Zoë Sharp and Scott Turow — to conjure possible outcomes?

The stories were published in the print edition of the New York Times the day after the pipe bomb was found in George Soros’ mailbox.

One story stands out as it angered a lot of readers.

In Zoe Sharp’s assassination fantasy, How It Ends, readers discover that she imagines a drunk Russian with a glitchy pistol assassinates the President of the United States. Of course readers know that the president in question is Trump, given the specified criteria outlined:

When it was time, he went downstairs, took his place in the lobby before the entourage appeared. The hotel staff had been lined up to see their boss, the president, go by. A few of them applauded. Most did not.

The president didn’t seem to notice. He waved, in his desultory fashion. The Secret Service agents clustered around him, ushered him toward the armored limo idling outside at the curb.

The Russian waited until they were a few steps past before he drew the gun. He sighted on the center of the president’s back, and squeezed the trigger.

The Makarov misfired.

The Secret Service agent at the president’s shoulder heard the click, spun into a crouch. He registered the scene instantly, drawing his own weapon with razor-edge reflexes.

Then comes the shock ending:

The Russian tasted failure. He closed his eyes and waited to pay the cost.

It did not come.

He opened his eyes. The Secret Service agent stood before him, presenting his Glock, butt first.

“Here,” the agent said politely. “Use mine. …”

Sigh. I hate cheap, button-pushing shock endings like this. But what I hate even more is playing the “What if this was Obama” game, but let’s do it anyway. First, we all know that the New York Times Book Review would never, ever solicit any story involving Barack Obama. Second, they would never in a million years publish How It Ends if it was about Obama’s assassination. The New York Times would take to their editorial pages in droves to condemn any story that remotely considered such an horrific event. They would also condemn both the writer and the outlet for their utter lack of discretion, their glorification of political violence, their incitement of violence, their tacit approval of the assassin being a sympathetic martyr, etc. That the New York Times Book Review never remotely considered soliciting anything similar about President Obama, tells us all we need to know. Not every president is fair game. Never have been, never will be. (But get your unbiased reporting from us anyway!)

It’s hard to ignore that Ms. Sharp not only sees the killing of this particular enemy as not only justified because it’s necessary, but also portrays it as something almost noble that will bring honor to the killer, and render him a martyr for the cause:

The Russian drank on alone. Throughout his career, he would have spent these hours going over the plan, the escape route. This time, there was no escape route — only honor. And death.

On top of everything else, if Ms. Sharp imagines that Secret Service agents are that unhinged and malleable, then I guess we really can assume that this is a humorous piece, meant to cause a gasp and a chuckle. Which is what she seems to want us to believe:

Back in August I received an email, out of the blue, from an editor at The New York Times, asking me if I would like to write a short story for the Book Review. The publication’s focus, the editor explained, was on how fiction reflected and related to the real world. And what better way to discover some of the more imaginative ways the current political situation might develop than to ask ‘some of today’s most talented spy and crime novelists—Joseph Finder, Laura Lippman, Jason Matthews, Zoë Sharp, and Scott Turow—to conjure possible outcomes?’

I think it was fortunate that I didn’t know until the stories were published this week who my fellow contributors were. I fear I might have been somewhat intimidated to realise I was going to be alongside such literary luminaries. Particularly as the idea I came up with required me to write with tongue wedged very firmly in cheek.

You be the judge.

My beef isn’t with Ms. Sharp as much as it with the paper of record. Ms Sharp wrote a disturbing, yet tight story with an economy of words and a little gotcha-twist at the end. I don’t know her from Adam. But I do know the New York Times and their hypocritical underpants are showing with their publication of Ms. Sharp’s story.

My beef is with the paper of record for their solicitation of such stories in general, and for choosing to make the editorial decision to publish this specific selection. If we had not been Lectured. To. Death. by society’s eternal nagging mother, the Gray Lady about civility, incendiary rhetoric, the evils of the GOP, and the dangers of Crosshairs and Targets, Oh My!, it would be a different story. But here we are.

Case(s) in point: the Editorial Board has brazenly and sneakily blamed Republicans for any number of acts of political violence in the past, and been forced to issue corrections for false claims. A few oldies but goodies:

“Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.”>it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

Can we just stop with the moral preening, New York Times? Can you stop trying to make us believe you are something than you really are? While you may think us too stupid to know better, we do. We see right through you. But hey, if you want Trump in 2020 that badly, just keep on being you.



Trump’s Disdain for Security Has Our Enemies Listening to His Phone Calls

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

Lock him up.

When President Trump calls old friends on one of his iPhones to gossip, gripe or solicit their latest take on how he is doing, American intelligence reports indicate that Chinese spies are often listening — and putting to use invaluable insights into how to best work the president and affect administration policy, current and former American officials said.

Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.

American spy agencies, the officials said, had learned that China and Russia were eavesdropping on the president’s cellphone calls from human sources inside foreign governments and intercepting communications between foreign officials.

The officials said they have also determined that China is seeking to use what it is learning from the calls — how Mr. Trump thinks, what arguments tend to sway him and to whom he is inclined to listen — to keep a trade war with the United States from escalating further. In what amounts to a marriage of lobbying and espionage, the Chinese have pieced together a list of the people with whom Mr. Trump regularly speaks in hopes of using them to influence the president, the officials said.

Fortunately, he’s probably not spilling any classified information because he barely pays attention to that stuff.

Administration officials said Mr. Trump’s longtime paranoia about surveillance — well before coming to the White House he believed that his phone conversations were often being recorded — gave them some comfort that he was not disclosing classified information on the calls. They said they had further confidence he was not spilling secrets because he rarely digs into the details of the intelligence he is shown and is not well versed in the operational specifics of military or covert activities.

None of this is shocking. There is a dolt in the Oval Office, everyone knows he’s a dolt, and Americans are apparently fine with it. All you can do is shrug your shoulders.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Quintessential Trump Gaslighting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 pm

Who says Trump can’t be entertaining reading prepared remarks? I’ll start the clip in the right place, but you’ll have to stop it yourself.

As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. Have to do it. They have got to stop. Bring people together.

It’s the funniest thing I’ve heard since I heard about Melania Trump making a crusade of opposing bullying.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

More Explosive Devices: Clintons, Obamas, and Maybe CNN

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Dana already blogged about the explosive device at George Soros’s home. Now there are reports of explosive devices having been sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton and to Barack Obama.

The Secret Service said Wednesday that it had intercepted packages containing “potential explosive devices” addressed to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in New York and former president Barack Obama in Washington.

The devices were recovered not long after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at the Bedford, N.Y., home of George Soros, the liberal philanthropist who is a frequent target of criticism from far-right groups.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the Secret Service said in a statement Wednesday. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”

The Secret Service said the package addressed to the Chappaqua, N.Y., home of Clinton and former president Bill Clinton was recovered late Tuesday. The package sent to Obama’s Washington home was intercepted early Wednesday, authorities said.

Meanwhile, as I type this post, CNN’s offices in New York are being evacuated:

The evacuation is taking place because of reports of a suspicious device.

What does it all mean? Nobody knows, of course — but that won’t stop lefties from blaming Trump’s rhetoric, or Trumpists from crying “false flag!”

It does raise a question in my mind, though. If you applauded the body-slamming of a Guardian reporter by a Republican congressional candidate, and if you laughed when Donald Trump celebrated that, do you approve of all this too? No? Then where do you draw the line? Body-slamming is OK but explosive devices are not?

Related issue: is the central question here the behavior of Bill or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or CNN? Or is the central question the behavior of the person behind the sending or planting of these explosive devices?

I mean these questions to be rhetorical, but treat them as regular questions if you like.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Condemn Them All: Nothing Justifies Political Acts Of Violence On Either Side Of The Aisle

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

Two ugly acts of violence are in the news.

The first story involves billionaire philanthropist George Soros (or, as the WaPo unsurprisingly frames it: Explosive device found at residence of George Soros, liberal philanthropist and target of far right):

A pipe-bomb-like device loaded with black powder was found at the suburban New York City home of billionaire financier George Soros, prompting the FBI to launch an investigation into who would want to harm the philanthropist and political activist, a law enforcement source told ABC News on Tuesday.

The FBI detonated the device near Soros’ home in Katonah, New York, and were analyzing the parts to determine whether the bomb was built to go off, the source said.

The source emphasized that the device was no hoax.

The bomb was found about 3:45 p.m. Monday in the mailbox of Soros’ home by a property caretaker for the billionaire, the source said.

“An employee of the residence opened the package, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device,” said Bedford police, which sent officers to the residence, in a statement.

The caretaker placed the suspicious package in a wooded area and called the police, officials said.

No determination has been made whether the device arrived by mail or was planted in the mailbox, and there is no suspect yet.

The second report concerns Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.):

Two men apparently attacked the Bakersfield office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Monday night, throwing a massive rock through one of its windows and burglarizing office equipment inside.

McCarthy posted four photographs documenting the alleged episode on Instagram — three showing the individuals he identified as possible suspects, and one providing a clear view of a massive slab of rock lying on the floor amid shattered glass.

“Does anyone know these two guys?” McCarthy wrote on the social media site, next to images of two people spotted near his office.

The Bakersfield Police Department did not comment on the alleged incident when reached by Fox News and said it would have more information on Tuesday.

McCarthy, like several other congressional Republicans, has faced threats and harassment in the past several weeks. In August, protesters in Sacramento chanting “No justice, no peace” disrupted McCarthy’s event at the Public Policy Institute of California.

This x 1000:

“There’s no way somebody on my ideological side would plant a bomb in Soros mailbox/break a window and steal things from McCarthy’s office! It must be an elaborate hoax!” Do you realize how crazy you sound?

Angry individuals and mobs willing to do harm to political opponents exist on both sides of the aisle. We’ve all seen the results of their havoc. Sadly, if you read the comments at the links above, it’s obvious that assigning blame takes a front-seat to simple, full-throated condemnation of anyone from any side of the aisle committing any sort of violence. This “whataboutism” and “but they…” is becoming little more than a twisted game of one-upmanship. Bad enough coming from private citizens, but far more foul coming from sleazy politicians exploiting such events for their own sordid political gain.

It is both equally possible to loathe an individual and criticize their politics as destructive, yet condemn anyone who would seek to do them harm.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



President Trump: This Will Be An Election Of The Caravan (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:12 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As the caravan of undocumented immigrants from Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador makes its way through Mexico to the U.S. border, the numbers have reportedly increased to a staggering 5,000 individuals. President Trump responded to the northward migration with a series of tweets this morning:

President Trump vowed Monday to cut off or “substantially” reduce aid to three Latin American nations, voicing fresh frustration as a growing caravan of migrants that originated in Honduras continued to make its way toward the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.,” Trump said in one of a string of morning tweets on the subject. “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

It was not immediately clear what payments Trump was alluding to or the extent to which he could act without congressional approval.

Trump also expressed frustration with Mexico’s military and police, saying they appear “unable to stop the Caravan” and that he has alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and military to what he termed a national emergency.

Ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms, Trump has sought to turn the caravan into a symbol of the larger issue of immigration, which the White House believes can be used to drive up turnout among the Republican base.




I was unable to find any support for President Trump’s claims that “Middle Easterners” were a part of the caravan. Instead, I found this caution about assuming any such thing:

You’re going to be hearing a lot about Guatemala catching 100 ISIS members. @JudicialWatch and its dupes and cronies are spinning this as if they’re being arrested out of the ranks of the “caravan,” in support of Trump’s “Middle Easterner emergy” meme.

But, as others have pointed out, Judicial Watch appears to be using an unsourced boast from Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and >associating it with the caravan.

On October 11, Prensa Libre reported that Morales claimed his admin deported “close to” 100 ISIS members. Morales assumed office in 2016.

Judicial Watch misleadingly reported this as “ISIS Terrorists Caught in Guatemala as Central American Caravan Heads to U.S.”

But even Morales didn’t connect it to the caravan. Morales made the boast at a conference back on October 11th and 12th. The only specific incident his administration cited was an arrest of some Syrians with fake documents in 2016.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Moraless shared the news on Thursday as 4,000 migrants were making their way to the Guatemala and Mexican border in an effort to cross over.

Yet, under the dishonest urging of @JudicialWatch, this is being spun as “Guatemala catches 100 ISIS members in caravan heading for U.S.” Just look.

As far as there being criminals in the caravan, there is confirmation that previously deported individuals are indeed a part of the caravan. While there are not specific numbers available, some were willing to go on record:

And then there were the deportees. Many of the migrants here had previously lived in the United States, for years or even decades, joining the caravan to reunite with their children, or to resume old jobs. They were undeterred by the American authorities who had apprehended them or the U.S. president who promised to keep them out again.

Some of them had returned voluntarily to their home countries long ago, but eventually determined that there was nothing there for them. Now, they were traversing Mexico while President Trump tweeted about their journey[.]

“It’s time for me to go back to the United States. It’s a country where I can live my life, unlike Guatemala,” said Job Reyes, 36, who had spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Los Angeles, attending kindergarten through high school there.

He said he had returned to Guatemala when his visa expired 14 years ago…“When I heard about the caravan, I knew it was my chance,” he said.

Imner Anthony Fuentes, 29, had the same reaction. He had been deported five months ago from Birmingham, Ala. His son was still living there, with his U.S. citizen girlfriend, not far from the framing store where Fuentes had worked for six years. He was used to the back-and-forth: He said he had been deported six times.

“That’s just how it is,” Fuentes said. “They catch you, and you try to get back.”

According to reports, between the three countries, the U.S. is projected to provide a total of $260 million in aid for the 2019 fiscal year.

And as far as this becoming a rallying cry for the GOP before the midterms, when one remembers that taking on illegal immigration and building a wall at the southern border was one of the main planks of his campaign, it makes sense that Trump would use the crisis to rev up his base before an election. This from a rally in Mesa, AZ:

Under two enormous banners—PROMISES MADE and PROMISES KEPT—Trump told an audience of roughly 4,000 people that a Honduran migrant caravan, also roughly 4,000 people, would “break our laws, violate our borders, and overwhelm our nation” if it were to enter the United States.

“They’re fighting some bad people in that group,” Trump said, of the Mexican military. “You see the people come up and you listen to the fake news back there, and you’d think they’re all wonderful people! You got some bad people in those groups, you got some tough people in those group, and I’ll tell you what: This country does not want them.”

And at a campaign stop in Montana, he told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters:

“This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense. … Remember it’s gonna be an election of the caravan.”

It’s not clear what any sort of military intervention at the U.S. border would look like, nor whether the President plans to go through Congress.

And worth a mention, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yestserday:

“We also are deeply concerned by the violence provoked by some members of the group, as well as the apparent political motivation of some organizers of the caravan,” Pompeo said.

“As President Trump has stated, consistent with U.S. law, the United States will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the United States,” said Pompeo.

Yet he provided no examples of the migrants inciting violence, nor could I find any when doing a search.

UPDATE: There is a report this afternoon that Bangladeshis are part of the carvavan. The Daily Caller has the story:

Univision correspondent Francisco Santa Anna reported from the bridge separating Guatemala and Mexico. The bridge has been packed with thousands of migrants demanding access to Mexico, with the ultimate goal of crossing the border of the United States illegally. The caravan has now swelled to many thousands.

The Bangladeshis, he said, were detained in an immigration facility, though it’s not clear what happened to them after their detention.

“The borders in Central American are not as strong as the U.S., which makes it possible for people from Panama and Ecuador to cross easily,” Santa Anna said on Univision. “They cross from Costa Rica, then later go through Guatemala and eventually make it into our country.”

“Yesterday when we were traveling through Guatemala, we noticed people from El Salvador and even people from Bangladesh,” he continued. “Can you imagine what they had to do to get here? They infiltrated themselves in this caravan and tried to cross with the crowd. That would have benefited them greatly.”

(h/t commenter xmas.)

UPDATE x2: Perhaps this is what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was referring to, which happened during the crossing into Mexico:

The men and the women of the caravan turned violent and began to riot upon being denied passage into Mexico. The migrants, most of whom began their journey last week in Honduras, had traveled hundreds of miles on foot or by bus and were unwilling to take no for an answer. They quickly moved to overwhelm the law enforcement and military officers on both sides of the border by hurling rocks and other readily available objects.

One of the migrants, a Honduran man who was first to overcome the police barriers and cross into Mexico, was heard shouting euphorically that no one could stop the caravan’s momentum.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Trump Celebrates Violence Against a Reporter, and These Two Reactions Are Emblematic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:01 am

You probably know the story by now. At a recent rally, Donald Trump gleefully recounted how Montana Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs from the Guardian. This is an act that Gianforte pled guilty to and apologized for, but to Trump (who is, I am quite sure, a physical coward) it was something to laugh about and celebrate:

Listen to the mob howl in approval. (More about that below.)

In one of the funnier clips I have seen in a while, Corey Lewandowski, the Trump sycophant whose voice is just beginning to break (congratulations on hitting puberty, Corey!), tries valiantly to do his best imitation of how he thinks an actual decent person acts. Lewandowski mouths platitudes about how we should all reject violence, citing (to take one of many examples) obviously figurative but nevertheless poisonous rhetoric from Eric Holder about kicking people in response to attacks. The problem is, every time Cuomo asks Lewandowski to specifically criticize Trump for his actual celebration of the body-slamming of a reporter, Lewandowski can’t bring himself to do it.

It’s called a non-disparagement clause, Chris. It’s the reason this clown never should have been on your network to begin with. But I do give you props for exposing his behavior, even if you won’t tell the viewers why.

Watching this clip, it seemed to me that Lewandowski’s performance is emblematic of the GOP these days. With very few exceptions (and we’re about to get to one), GOP leaders across the board, and indeed a large Trumpist section of the GOP electorate, behaves as if they too have a non-disparagement agreement with Trump. They want to pose as decent people who have principles and aren’t utter hypocrites. Then you ask them their attitude towards something clearly immoral and disgusting like Trump’s behavior at this rally, and they spin like a top, dismissing it as a joke, or unimportant, or any spin they can possibly reach for.

Anything that allows them not to criticize Trump.

As a counterweight (of sorts) to that, we have Ben Sasse this morning:

I believe the First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment. We need to have a president who celebrates the First Amendment and not pretends that beating up a reporter is okay.

I call it a counterweight “of sorts” because even Sasse reflects the view of many of his constituents that the President is just being playful, and hey, what’s the big deal here? But even with his minimizing tone, he’s one of the few people actually willing to speak out against such nonsense.

Sasse can’t make anyone happy. The lefties are unhappy because he is still conservative and votes like a conservative. The Trumpists are unhappy because their only principle is Trump worship, and Sasse won’t come to church. Conservatives like me are happy, but we don’t count because there are 17 of us left in the entire country. You heard me: 17. I counted the other day. We’re meeting for pie this afternoon.

As a side note, I will say that even Sasse won’t address the real elephant in the GOP room. (SWIDT?) While Trump’s conduct is troubling, the real problem is the animals in his audience laughing at his antics. It is people like this who made him the GOP nominee, and it is people like this who are the core problem with this country. These degenerates are the reason politicians are scared to say anything about Trump. The laughing hyenas at the rally are not the people I still respect to this day: people who reluctantly voted for a man they believed to be flawed, but still better than Hillary. No, the moral reprobates yukking it up at Trump’s description of inexcusable violence are the people who actively applaud the worst behavior in our public life — just because they find it entertaining, and because its utter lack of morality doesn’t trouble them a bit.

Sasse, a politician, won’t blame any voters, ever — not even this obviously immoral subset of voters. But I will.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 99

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does is well done).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 10:35-45:

The Request of James and John

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, echoing Jesus’s words of trusting in God only, and attaining greatness and delight only through service and suffering:

What God does is well done,
His will remains righteous;
However he begins my affairs,
I will silently keep to Him.

. . . .

When the bitterness of the cross
struggles with the weakness of the flesh,
nevertheless it is well done.
Whoever, through misapprehension,
considers the cross unbearable,
will also in the future never share delight.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

UPDATE: I would be remiss if I did not point out that the duet near the end is truly lovely. I am listening to it a second time now. Even if you skip the rest of the piece, listen to the duet:

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Saudis Issue Laughable Story: Khashoggi Died in a Fistfight

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:51 pm

Honestly, if you’re still spouting Saudi propaganda at this point, you’re beyond hope.

Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them.

State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed. They did not say whether the men’s firing had any connection to the Khashoggi case or whether they were being investigated for playing a role in it.

Gee, I thought the story was that the Saudis had no idea about this guy never leaving the embassy. Remember what MBS told Bloomberg?

Bloomberg: He went into the Saudi consulate.

MBS: My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.

Oops! Guess not.

This new “fistfight” story is a Trumpist sort of story, in the sense that the Saudis clearly don’t care whether people believe it. It is a lie of the sort Trump tells on a regular basis, where he doesn’t even bother to try to make it plausible or reconcile it with his past statements. He just says whatever the hell he feels like saying, and expects his dupes to twist themselves into knots to claim he’s right.

And they do, every time. And the same dupes will claim this story makes sense.

The rest of the world — those of us with at least two brain cells to rub together — not only have no trouble seeing through this, we also have no trouble laughing out loud at how utterly implausible it is.

As Columbo would say, scratching his head and turning around just as it seemed like he was going to leave:

Um, guys?

Where’s the body?

The Saudi statement did not address many of the questions raised by the Turkish investigation, such as the identities of the 15 suspects in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and whether they were among the 18 people the Saudis said they had arrested.

All 15 were identified by name and Turkish newspapers published their photographs. The New York Times established that most of them were employed by the Saudi military or security services and that at least four had traveled with the crown prince as part of his security detail.

Nor did the Saudi announcement say what had become of Mr. Khasoggi’s body. The Turks had said it had been disassembled with a bone saw by an autopsy specialist flown in specifically for the purpose and likely carried out of the consulate in large suitcases.

Where’s the body, MBS?

Where’s the body?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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